Puffed up

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Photo courtesy of “Dino De Luca”/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I’ve had the good fortune of experiencing my first ever “Blog Tour” this past week. 30 readers with blogs requested a copy of Angelguard from Kregel on the premise they would commit to read it and write a review on their blog. I’ve enjoyed interacting with readers in providing additional information as well as reading their reviews.

In this review cycle it’s hard not to get too “me focused”. Last week I wrote about discouragement when reading reviews so that it doesn’t create hardness in our heart. Recently, I’ve read a few articles from other authors about gaining their affirmation from sales figures, glowing reviews and such like.

Jesus tempted by Satan

I was reminded how Jesus was also tempted to become “me focused” and to seek affirmation from the world. We’re all familiar with Satan tempting Jesus at the end of His 40 days in the desert. Jesus was confronted with three powerful compulsions that confront us regularly.

First off, Satan encourages Jesus to satisfy His hunger (“tell these stones to become bread.” (Matt 4:2b NIV)). I want to be a recognised author, to be able to quit my day job so I can focus on writing. There’s nothing wrong with such a goal, however, if it becomes the source of my self-worth, then it is an issue. God wants us to rely on Him for our self-worth. He wants to feed us.

Secondly, Satan tempts Jesus to be spectacular (“throw yourself down.” (Matt 4:6)) by targeting His pride. It’s very easy to get puffed up with very generous reviews and sales figures so that once again, we allow these to overly influence our sense of who we are.

Finally, Satan offers Jesus power (“All this I will give you …” (Matt 4:9)).

Jesus was given the opportunity to rule the earth. He declined:

“Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve Him only.” (Matt 4:10)

God created us for relationship with Him. He wants us to look to Him and Him only for our identity and self-worth. Not in book sales or reviews.

I’ve found it particularly useful this week spending time in solitude. Creating clear periods of disconnection from being an author. This has helped me resist the compulsions of being “me focused”. It’s in disconnecting that I’ve been able to let go of my false illusions whilst holding on tightly to Jesus.

I’ve always marvelled at the wilderness experiences of Jesus, Paul, Moses, Elijah and the like. It’s in solitude where God can transform us by not allowing us to confront the daily compulsions that tempt us to rely on ourselves rather than Him.

“Then the devil left Him, and angels came and attended Him.” (Matt 4:11)

I love that image. After 40 days of fasting, resisting temptation, and rejecting Satan, the Father ministered to Him in a very caring and loving way.

I wonder what Jesus felt like? Pretty special, I’d imagine.

Wishing you a wonderful weekend.

 

6 replies
  1. Susan J. Reinhardt
    Susan J. Reinhardt says:

    Hi Ian –

    This is great advice. I’m also in the middle of a blog tour/book launch. It’s quite a whirlwind and easy to lose focus. I’m dealing with it by making sure I spend quiet time with the Lord each morning.

    Another way I keep balanced is to promote the work of others and celebrate their successes.

    Blessings,
    Susan

    Reply

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